It has been a busy month of riding for me, first La Ruta, then the SCR Dart and now the Old Caz. I have not done anything but do those rides in preparation for the rigors of the climbing and the crappy pavement of Old Caz, but I know that just riding my own pace I can keep it together and keep it fun.

Serious Cycling on the SCR Dart

Serious Cycling on the SCR Dart

One of the attractions of the intimidating nature of the Adventure Series and La Ruta are that the people who attempt them tend to be quiet, competent, and content with what the road and trail brings and more importantly much fewer in number. The other attractions are quiet (if poorly paved) roads and the marvelous views and places we go.

The 30 or so people that started the ride strung out pretty quickly and like usual, I am at the front off the bridge with only Gintautas (his ride report here, scroll down) in front of me and off the back once we pass a few stop signs or traffic lights. I stop at ‘em and they don’t. Obeying the traffic laws gives me some peace of mind and also some peace and quiet because all of the other riders are down the road a few minutes ahead of me.

Usually other rider’s pee breaks and clothing change breaks slow them up and I end up catching up a few miles beyond Fairfax. On Nicasio Road while I am in a small group I describe some of the trade-offs and advantages of my new fangled 650bx38 pari-motos (had ‘em 3 years now) to a tall rider on a new bike and recite some of the history of SFR and RUSA to someone else who does not even know what planing is.

My short history explained that SFR was founded for people who lived in SF and did not have a car to drive to Davis to do the qualifiers (an SR series) for PBP. Also people only did the qualifying series the year of PBP so they could go there, but otherwise people did not really do the rando thing or perms or adventure rides or any of that stuff – I mean, why would you do those silly rides otherwise?

No I did not explain planing to them.

Bryan and I discuss longer rides for a bit ‘no, I don’t need to do a 1200, a 600 kills my interest in riding just fine’.

Jon and Ernesto - photo swiped from Metin without asking

Jon and Ernesto – photo swiped from Metin without asking

On Chileno valley old friends Andrea and Henry rode with me and it was nice to catch up with them after so long. Andrea and I firm up some of our plans for the Davis Dart in November and they stop in Bloomfield for a potty break and I lose them for the duration.

In Bloomfield I also run across two young riders who have elected to do the ride that I have never seen on any other rando rides. One has a plastic retro jersey on and the other is wearing a wool jersey and dickeys just like one of my riding buddies – it is good to see some youngsters out on a ride such as this. They keep to themselves and ride faster than me and stop longer so I see them a few times during the day.

I catch up with a fair number of the riders in Occidental at the first receipt control. The cashier is impressed that not only is my money dry and free of sweat but also that I don’t drip perspiration on her counter or smell bad. I apologize for all of the other cyclists in the whole world and wish her a nice day. While I was outside Jesse asks a few of us if it is silly to fill up his third water bottle so early in the ride. I tell him there’s no water until the ocean unless he goes off course so his eyes bug out a little and he fills up the third bottle.

Leaving Occidental I collect tall Jon and we stay in each other’s vicinity until Cazadero. Jon is much taller than me and much faster. I lose him on the climb of Old Caz and I settle in and try and breathe. My lungs are just not working well so I concentrate on deep breathing and deep thoughts and grind out the climb that is quiet, warm and has the occasional nice view. Jon and I chat at the top of Cazadero and at the bottom, where he watches me clean the Austin Creek crossing. Last year I did a foot dab, so I am getting better at it. We climb out of Austin Creek together but he wants some food in Cazadero and since my water bottles are two-thirds full I figure I can make it to Jenner just fine.

Austin Creek - photo swiped from Metin without asking

Austin Creek – photo swiped from Metin without asking

I climb Fort Ross Road while Jon heads for food and water. Fort Ross is quiet and pleasant despite my bum lungs and just after I pass my old friend the three legged Chihuahua who still tries to attack me like old times Barley and Carl pass. Barley double flatted on the dirt section of Old Caz and also stopped for food in Cazadero. Sadly he did not notice the three legged Chihuahua.

At the end of Fort Ross Road Barley and Carl stop to chat (they were doing just fine chatting and riding, but maybe they were waiting for Megan) and I keep going to encounter the incredible views of Myers Grade and the sea stacks of Hwy 1 before we get to Jenner.

that view on meyers grade - photo swiped from Metin without asking

that view on meyers grade – photo swiped from Metin without asking

At Jenner Gintautas is lingering and sipping on a coke – he is taking it very easy today, as I never see him ever except at the start. I get a beer, bubbly water, a calzone and goof off for 15 minutes relaxing and updating my brevet card. Things get a little crowded with the arrivals of Jon, Barley, Carl, Megan, Omar, Bryan, his buddy, and the two quiet young guys.

Barley and his group leave before me, and the others hang out a little longer. I probably should not saddle Barley with ownership of the group but since he is quiet, competent, and capable where most others are not, I see him as the leader by default. I end up riding with tall Jon again until Valley ford, where he stops for water. We had passed Barley’s group back on Joy Road as Carl got a pinch flat.

On Dillon Beach –School House Road a sad individual wearing a bright orange oversized beret in a BMW mini buzzes me for no particular reason and I curse them but I also realize that cursing them is redundant because they are an obese person wearing a bright orange oversized beret driving a BMW mini.

estero americano - photo swiped from Metin without asking

estero americano – photo swiped from Metin without asking

I was freed of my own curse, those bum lungs, once I got to the ocean and could smell that salty mist and breathe deeply and effectively once again. Thank you Ocean.

Somewhere around the third roller north of Point Reyes Barley’s group with Jon in tow catch me, but they drop me two rollers later on that last climb before town. In Point Reyes I get me a cubano premade sandwich from the deli, a three twins ice cream sandwich and a bubbly water – each item is a real treat! This time I am first to leave and I get all the way to the climb out of Stinson before the last of the sunset is gone and to the last info control before Barley’s group passes me for the last time. Hwy 1 was very deserted and made me think I should take this route home more often instead of SFD. It certainly is prettier.

Gintautas on the Stinson Beach climb, I was there about an hour later - photo swiped from Metin without asking

Gintautas on the Stinson Beach climb, I was there about an hour later – photo swiped from Metin without asking

Nearly finished I stop at the Sausalito 7-11 to get a beer for lingering at the finish and head to the final control. The toll plaza clock says something like 10:15pm, it is pretty warm for the bridge when I finish, and I can relax a little more completely.

Rob is volunteering again (!) and so are William (Bubba), his son and a little later Aaron. I get a cup of noodles, the other half of my saved cubano sandwich, my beer I bought, and a bunch of potato chips. Soon the quiet kids show and quietly express their happiness at completing such a pretty route and then Bryan, his buddy and Jesse show. Bryan’s buddy has the hugest handlebar bag and he too got a six pack of beer at the Sausalito 7-11.

I linger just a bit longer until Midnight to make sure that my girlfriend is not going to meet me and get to see Andrea and Henry ride in. If I were Jason P. I would have lingered until the control closed just for fun, but thank goodness I am not Jason. Henry had tried ensure on this ride for the first time but with the side effect of needing several bathroom breaks; otherwise I suspect I would have ridden all day with Henry and Andrea too. Great job Henry! Great job all!

Such a good day on the bike – thank you Max.